DUBUQUE, Iowa — It took several lead changes for the game to finally come to an end, but the Dubuque Fighting Saints once again came out on top. Jacob Hamacher’s three-point night, Evan Fear’s debut victory, and Jason Lammers’ 50th career USHL victory led the way for the Saints over the Des Moines Buccaneers at the Mystique Community Ice Center on Friday night.
The turning point of the game came after Des Moines struck three consecutive times in a short span in the second period. Dubuque turned that tide thanks to a goal for Alex Steeves, which broke his season-long goal drought, and Dallas Gerads, who notched his first goal since mid-October in Youngstown. That put the Saints up 4-3 into the third period.
Zach Solow tallied on the power play, and Hamacher notched an empty-net goal to finally put the game away for good, even after Des Moines came close. With goaltender Nick MacNab at the bench for the extra attacker, Julian Napravnik scored his second goal of the game with just minutes remaining to cut the lead to 5-4. That was as far as Des Moines got.
Dubuque raced out to a two-goal lead thanks to goals from Hamacher and Austin Rueschhoff, with the latter coming on the power play. The big Missourian forward scored his second goal in as many games to pace the lead to two goals.
Des Moines took full advantage of an early penalty by Gerads in the second period and scored eight seconds into the man advantage thanks to Chris Berger, who powered the offense with two points. Berger set up the next goal four minutes later from Chase Ellingson to tie the game at two at the 4:41 mark.
Napravnik put the Buccaneers on top at 9:09 with a breakaway forced by a clearing attempt, as he beat Fear en route to the net and scored to make it 3-2 Bucs.
Fear stood tall otherwise and got the help he needed in his USHL debut, en route to his first win in net. He made 15 saves in the win. MacNab denied 23 of 28 shots fired his way.
The Saints’ PK went 3-for-4 on the night, and Des Moines stopped three of five opportunities Dubuque had in the game.
The eventful week for the Fighting Saints concludes in Chicago on Saturday, as they take on the Steel from Fox Valley Ice Arena. Join all of the action on Dubuque’s Super Hits 106.1 FM, or on the USHL’s streaming video provider, HockeyTV, starting at 6:50 for the 7:05 p.m. puck drop.